Olivetti’s Ivrea

Thanks to Matthew Collins for alerting me to his article published in California Italian Studies, an open-access journal.

Collins, M. (2017) ‘The Formation of a Heterotopia: An Inquiry into the Intermingling of Utopic Thoughts and Concrete Activities in Olivetti’s Ivrea’, California Italian Studies 7 (1) 1-28.

This essay explores the process by which the Olivetti factory and its related structures in Ivrea developed, especially under Adriano Olivetti from the 1930s through the 50s, into what could be regarded as a heterotopic space in keeping with the fundamental significance of the term as it was presented by Michel Foucault. Looking at four significant sources (or causes) of influence—Italian rationalism, Le Corbusier, the corporativist policies of Italian fascism, and Frank Lloyd Wright—the essay traces their respective roles in shaping the built environment of this relatively small subalpine Italian city. Specific projects discussed include the principal factory building and its numerous extension projects, Figini and Pollini’s workers’ housing units of 1935, the rationalist duo’s design of the social services building, and Piccinato’s Quartiere Bellavista.